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A Foretold Birth #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
December 13, 2021 7:00 am

A Foretold Birth #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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December 13, 2021 7:00 am

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Beloved, when you read the so-called Christmas story, you are seeing the point of human history.

You are seeing the focal point of the predetermined, predestined plan of God in what you read. The makings of the prophecies is fulfilled in the birth of Christ. As we enter the Christmas season, we should remember that the birth of Christ was not some isolated event.

Rather, it was the culmination of God's eternal plan, formulated before the foundation of the earth. And on this edition of the Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green will help you better appreciate the full meaning of Christmas as he begins the series, The Most Blessed Birth. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and today you'll hear part one of a message titled, A Foretold Birth. Don, what are we going to be covering both today and in the days to come? Well, Bill, it's that time of year where we consider Christmas in its biblical context. And to do that, you have to look not just at the events of the manger, but look at the prophecy that led up to the birth of Christ, and look to the future, what the fulfillment of his life and ministry will bring for us.

I'm so excited to explore these things, and I'm glad that you're with us today, my friend. I trust you'll stay with us with an open Bible on the Truth Pulpit. Thanks Don, and friend, let's join our teacher now in the Truth Pulpit. The life of Christ worked out according to a predetermined plan of God. It was what he predestined to happen. It pleased God to establish a plan, and then by his sovereign power, working even through the wickedness of men who did not know they were carrying out his purposes, to accomplish what he determined in eternity past, he worked it out in time so that his purposes would be fulfilled in eternity future. This is the greatness of the gospel.

This is the greatness of Christ. This is the greatness of what we read about as we see this plan unfold in the history that Luke records for us. And so God ordained the life of Christ before the beginning of time, and in the course of history, God did something else. God, before the coming of Christ, through his servants the prophets, predicted the coming of Christ centuries before it came to help you see the making of the prophecies of Christ and the meaning that those prophecies and the meaning that the life of Christ would have for you today. You see, it's an ever-present battle for any minister of the gospel to help people through the preaching of the Word of God to lift them out of the commercialism of the day and to lift you out even of your own inclinations maybe to sentimentality so that you would appreciate the grandeur and the glory of what we remember when we remember the birth of Christ, the making of the prophecies, first of all, if you're taking notes. As you read the Old Testament, you realize that God gave several predictive snapshots of the coming Messiah of Christ who was to come. And I'm not going to take you to any texts that you haven't seen before, but just to remember that as we read Luke chapter 2 as we did earlier, we are reading something that the prophets pointed to over centuries before it happened. So that when we read this narrative in Luke chapter 2, that there would be this sense of ah, yes, this is what God said was going to happen. This is what God said was going to come. And now, finally, it has arrived after centuries and even millennia of prophecies.

Now it is here and you start to realize the magnitude of the moment that's in front of you as you read Luke chapter 2. Go all the way back to Genesis chapter 3. Genesis chapter 3, and we'll just go through these rather quickly just to refresh our memories, really, of things that we have considered in the past. In Genesis chapter 3, we realize that the prophecies of the coming of Christ started at the fall of Adam. That almost from the very beginning when Adam fell, having succumbed to the temptation that Satan brought to him and to Eve, and God is pronouncing judgment even in the judgment, is embedded a hope of a coming deliverer. Look at Genesis chapter 3, beginning in verse 14, as God pronounces judgment on the serpent through whom Satan tempted man. In verse 14, the Lord God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field. On your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed.

He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. Oh, there would be a time when Satan struck a temporary blow, as it were, on the heel of Christ when Christ was crucified. But the greater reality was is that Christ would come and crush Satan.

That he would reverse the consequences of what Satan had done in instigating the fall of man. The time would come down the road when Christ instigated the permanent and eternal fall of Satan. So even from the beginning, God was pointing to a coming deliverer and when we read Luke chapter 2, we see this deliverer being brought to earth in human flesh. And in Romans chapter 16 verse 20, this promise is repeated when it says that God will soon crush Satan under your feet.

And so even as we're mindful of the fall of man and the chaos that Satan wrought through the temptation, we realize that Christ has come to destroy the works of the devil, as other scriptures tell us. And so we realize that from the beginning, God was implanting prophecies in his word that would point to Christ. You move forward in redemptive history and you turn to the book of Isaiah, if you would, in Isaiah chapter 7. Isaiah chapter 7, approximately 700 years before the time of Christ, you read the familiar prophecy that the Lord was going to send a child who would be born of a virgin. Isaiah chapter 7 verse 14, where it says, therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.

Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son and she will call his name Emmanuel. Turn over with that in mind to Matthew chapter 1, keeping your finger in Isaiah. Matthew chapter 1, you see 700 years later in the birth of Christ, the fulfillment of the certain word of God. And once again you see the fact that this is all proceeding on a divine timetable according to a divine plan that was certain in its fulfillment. And we realize that we are watching the sovereignty of God carry out the plan of God in a way that is perfectly in accord with the time of God. Matthew chapter 1 verse 22 says all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet. Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which translated means God with us. And so scripture makes a point of helping us understand this birth of Christ in its context, in its prophetic context.

Giving the narrative that says these are the facts as they occurred in the first century, but always pointing you to realize that this is the fulfillment of prophecies that were made centuries earlier, showing that the word of God was certain in its fulfillment, that there was an underlying, hidden, unseen plan of God that was unfolding as Mary gave birth and placed that infant in a manger. And so we realize these things and we step back from the commercialism. We step back from our own sentimentality. We step back from our sense of just loving the lights and sounds and the music of Christmas, which is all fine as far as it goes, but we step back and we realize that there is something infinitely greater at stake in what we remember at this time of year. We remember that we are watching the unfolding of the plan of God take place as we read the narratives of the birth of Christ.

And what does that do to you? Well, we'll talk about that more later on, but there should just be such a sense of the majesty and the magnitude and the greatness and the grandeur of what we're reading in such a way, beloved, in such a way that it would humble your heart, that you would realize that this focus on self that we all fall into would dissipate, would bow down, that you would reject your preoccupation with this life and let your preoccupation come with the coming of Christ. That your priorities, your affections, your desires in life would be changed by this because it is so much greater than any of our individual lives.

It is so much more strategic. It is so much more surpassing beyond the things that we think about on a day-to-day basis. Go back to Isaiah and turn to chapter 9, if you would. Isaiah chapter 9. Again, as we consider the making of these prophecies, as we remember the Old Testament prophecies that had taken place long before Christ was born. And in Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6, it says a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and the government will rest on his shoulders and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of his government or of peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness.

From then on and forevermore, the zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. The great names of God being applied to this coming Christ, being applied to this coming child who would be given to us. And the purpose of his mission, so much could be said, the purpose of his mission in part to be the Prince of Peace. The one and the only one who could bring peace to the nations in his coming still future to us, his millennial reign on earth. The one and the only one who can bring peace to the darkened and sinful heart of man, who can bring peace with God to a sinner who is in rebellion to him. The one and the only one who can bring an end to the war of the human heart against God with his death, with his resurrection, with his gracious reconciliation of peace to those who believe in him.

The Prince of Peace who will bring peace to the nations and who brings peace with God to his people. The majesty of it all. The greatness of it all.

The eternal wonder of it all. This is more than a story about the birth of a baby. The birth of the baby is a reflection of the great eternal plan of God being worked out in human history, in time and space.

And only that perspective can rightly frame our minds as we contemplate what we read. One final prophecy to consider in the book of Micah in the middle of the so-called minor prophets, the shorter prophets you might say. In Micah chapter 5 verse 2, Micah chapter 5 verse 2, it says, As for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah. From you, one will go forth from me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. Do you see it yet again as the place of the birth of the Messiah is predicted 700 years before it occurs? That rooted in that, even in that familiar prophecy, it says that his goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. This is rooted in the predetermined, predestined plan of God.

This is not an accident of history. This is not one birth among many. This is unique to the occurrence that is necessary for the fulfillment of God's wise and eternal plan, which he established within the councils of the Trinity before the world was created. And so, we have this sense that prophecies were made, and now do this, if you would. Put yourself in the sandals of a first century Jew who starts to read about these prophecies being fulfilled.

Realize that you're in the sandals, as it were, of a Jew, thinking about it, from someone who has been conditioned by the Old Testament to expect a coming deliverer, to expect the Messiah to be born. And that there were these great markers that were in place prophetically so that he would be identified long before he came. That he would be born of a virgin. That he would be born of the line of David. That he would be born in the city of Bethlehem. And for centuries your people, for centuries your ancestors, your grandfather, your great-grandfather, your great-great-great-great-grandfather looked and read these prophecies, and with a longing of heart anticipated what was to come, not quite knowing exactly how it would all play out, but having the sense that there is one to come.

And that is the spiritual inheritance that you receive from being a Jew. And then someone brings to you the Gospel of Luke, and you start to read, and you start to see things that tell you that these prophecies have been fulfilled in your lifetime. Look at Luke chapter 1 verse 26, and notice how the simplicity of the New Testament narrative is packed with prophetic significance that you would miss if you only read these passages in isolation.

That's the whole point of what we've tried to do here. In Luke chapter 1 verse 26, which I read earlier, now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph of the descendants of David and the virgin's name was Mary. You're that first century Jew and you read that and it leaps off the page. This is filled with prophetic significance. A child is being born to a virgin who is from the descendants of David. And all of a sudden, all of the aspirations of your people, all of the prophetic significance of centuries gone by is being laid forth for you in a new revelation from God contained in the Gospel of Luke.

And you keep reading, and you go to Luke chapter 2 verses 4 and 5, and you're stunned to read that Joseph also went up from Galilee from the city of Nazareth to Judea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David in order to register along with Mary who was engaged to him and was with child. You see, as we read that simple familiar narrative, it is though a bright spotlight is being shown to say all of the light of prior prophetic significance is being brought to bear upon this birth. Luke's narrative sums up the fulfillment of the prophecies. Beloved, when you read the so-called Christmas story, you are seeing the point of human history, nay, still more. You are seeing the focal point of the predetermined, predestined plan of God in what you read. The makings of the prophecies is fulfilled in the birth of Christ. Now, here's what I want to do, being a little picturesque in the things that I say today.

I normally don't do that. Now what I want you to do is I want you to take off, as it were, the first century sandals of being a Jew, and now to kind of flash forward, as it were, put your own shoes back on and say, what does this mean to me here in the 21st century? What does this mean for you? Specifically, not just that Christ was born, not just that, but that Christ was born in the outworking of the predetermined plan of God. That Christ was born in the outworking of a prophetic unfolding scheme through the progress of revelation now culminated, now that you are able to read here in the 21st century in your humble life, in this humble place in which we live, and in this humble place in which we meet. Point number two here, the meaning of the prophecies.

We've looked at the makings of the prophecies, the meaning of the prophecies. Answering this question, directly applicable to each one of you. What does this birth, which was foretold, what does this foretold birth mean for you today? What should you take away from this? What should frame your life?

What should frame your thinking? What should frame your disposition going into even the coming week as people celebrate and remember things in completely different ways even within the room? We respect that.

That's fine. But we're not talking about a modern celebration. We're saying, how is it that you should think and respond to the fulfilled prophecies of the birth of Christ? I'm going to give you five things, kind of by way of application really, but five things that shape your affections, that shape your thinking, that frame your approach to life, that frame the way that you look forward to eternity. What does this foretold birth mean for you today? Point number one, remember the cross when you remember the manger. Remember the cross when you remember the manger. And what we're going to do for this section is we're going to turn to 1 Peter and just spend our time in 1 Peter to kind of bring the application, and it'll be obvious to you why.

In fact, let me frame it this way. 1 Peter chapter one is where you need to turn your attention to. 1 Peter chapter one, I'm going to put my point about remembering the cross on hold briefly and read a passage that I'll come back to again in just a few moments. But remembering that this birth was prophesied beforehand, look at what Scripture says in 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 10. As to this salvation, what's salvation?

Go back up to verse 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. That's salvation. The salvation that brought you new life, that brought you forgiveness of sin through the death and resurrection of Christ. That new life for which you blessed the name of God. That new life which gives you a living hope. The fullness of salvation. That salvation is what we're talking about as we look at verse 10. Look at it with me. As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.

We'll stop there for a moment. Here's what I want you to see to kind of frame these five points of application. Scripture makes a point of calling your attention to a reality about these prophets. The prophets who predicted the coming of Christ over a period of centuries. It says contemplate them and remember something about them that would frame the way that you respond to the overall gift of salvation that has been given to you. It tells us something about those prophets and that's what we're going to look at in just a moment, but I want you to see that connection as we enter into these five points. I'll come back to it.

Kind of a confusing way to do it, but I think it'll be clear in the end. What do these prophecies mean for you as you contemplate and remember the birth of Christ? Number one, remember the cross when you remember the manger. Remember that you don't read this story in isolation, but you contemplate it in light of the entire context of the revelation of God, and specifically the whole purpose for which Christ came. As you remember the manger, you immediately make an inseparable connection in your mind for the rest of your life to come that you remember the cross at the same time.

It's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with part one of a message titled, A Foretold Birth. Part two comes your way next time as we continue the series, The Most Blessed Birth. Be sure to join us.

Right now, though, Don's back here in studio with a few closing words. Well, as we close today's broadcast, I just want to express my gratitude for the many friends whose generosity make this program possible. You know, if you would like to join with those who are supporting us, you can do so at our website. Here's Bill to tell you how. Just visit TheTruthPulpit.com. That's TheTruthPulpit.com. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time for more from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-26 07:56:32 / 2023-06-26 08:05:00 / 8

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